Indonesia must jump ethanol feedstock hurdle to repeat biodiesel success

Indonesia must jump ethanol feedstock hurdle to repeat biodiesel success

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Indonesia, the world's biggest palm oil biodiesel user, is now working to introduce bioethanol mandates for gasoline to further cut fuel imports and carbon emissions, but it will first have to secure more bio feedstock and solve thorny technical problems, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Indonesia imported about 60% of the gasoline it burned last year at a cost of USD17 B, and it aims to replicate the success it had with biodiesel mandates that cut billions of dollars from diesel import bills. While much of Indonesia's emissions reductions will come from forest management and shutting coal-fired power plants, it also expects significant cuts from burning edible oil and hydrogen fuels and greater use of electric vehicles.

This year the government plans to test gasoline with 5% bioethanol in Surabaya, capital of East Java province, energy ministry official Dadan Kusdiana told Reuters. Indonesia plans eventually to mandate bioethanol content for gasoline at 15% and use it nationwide by 2031, an aggressive target when it has only two bioethanol plants that struggle to secure enough sugar molasses feedstock.

With limited bioethanol capacity and the country relying on imported sugar to meet domestic demand, including for food, some companies are looking to produce bioethanol from other feedstocks such as cassava and biomass, possibly from palm oil kernel waste and palm trunk sap.

"There are two companies interested in producing bioethanol from biomass ... So (the program) would not have to fully rely on sugarcane production," Dadan said. State energy company Pertamina also plans to build a facility to produce bioethanol from cassava and mix gasoline with 5% bioethanol and 15% methanol for a blend it calls A20, its chief executive told a parliamentary hearing in January. Pertamina has not said if the methanol would also have a bio source.

We remind, in February, Indonesia raised its mandatory biodiesel mix to 35% palm oil-based content from 30% in 2020. Its eight-year program has cut diesel imports, helped turned a current account deficit to surplus and mopped up excess output resulting from the increasing difficulty in shipping palm oil to Europe.

Valero starts up production on new Port Arthur, Texas coker

Valero starts up production on new Port Arthur, Texas coker

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Valero Energy Corp is starting up production on a new coker at its 335,000-barrel-per-day (bpd) Port Arthur, Texas, refinery, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The startup of production on the new 55,000-bpd coker follows completion of an overhaul of the 115,000-bpd AVU-147 crude distillation unit (CDU), the sources said. Valero continues to struggle with restarting the 66,000-bpd gas oil hydrotreater (GOHT) shut by a fire on Sunday, the sources said.

A Valero spokesperson did not reply to a request for comment. The GOHT sustained another small fire during a start-up attempt following the fire on Sunday. The unit, which uses hydrogen to remove sulfur from gas oil, gasoline and diesel feedstock, also had fires last week prior to the blaze on Sunday.

CDUs break down crude oil into feedstocks for all other units at the refinery. AVU-147 is the smaller of two CDUs at the refinery. Cokers convert residual crude oil from distillation units into either feedstocks for motor fuels or petroleum coke, which can be used as a coal substitute.

The new coker will eventually lead to an increase in production capacity at the Port Arthur refinery by taking additional residual crude produced by the CDUs as they process more crude oil. Valero officials have said the new coker will be in production by early May.

We remind, Valero Chief Executive Joe Gorder said this week U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm was told at a recent White House meeting with energy executives that refineries shuttered in the last few years won't return production.

Shell expects Q1 chemicals adjusted earnings loss amid lower utilisation

Shell expects Q1 chemicals adjusted earnings loss amid lower utilisation

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Shell expects its chemicals business to post an adjusted earnings loss for the first quarter of this year on the back of a lower plant utilisation, as per Reuters.

"The Q1 2023 realised chemicals margin is expected to be below ~USD100/tonne, mainly due to lower utilisation from slower than expected ramp-up of Shell Polymers Monaca (US)," the company said in a trading update statement.

The company's chemicals utilisation is expected at 70%-74% for the first quarter, compared with 75% in the fourth quarter of 2022.

Shell is scheduled to publish its first quarter results on 4 May.

We remind, CNOOC and Shell Petrochemicals Company Ltd (CSPC), a joint venture established by China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC) and Royal Dutch Shell, signed a framework agreement worth USD5.6-bn with China’s Huizhou city government to expand its ethylene project in the city. CSPC is expected to add 1.5 million tons per annum ethylene production capacity on top of its existed 2.2 million tons in Huizhou, according to a statement issued by CNOOC on Sunday night.

HIF Global and Idemitsu Kosan announce carbon neutral eFuels strategic cooperation

HIF Global and Idemitsu Kosan announce carbon neutral eFuels strategic cooperation

MOSCOW (MRC) -- HIF Global, the world’s leading eFuels company, and energy company Idemitsu Kosan announced a strategic cooperation agreement to accelerate the production of carbon neutral eFuels, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The HIF-Idemitsu strategic cooperation will focus on purchase of eFuels by Idemitsu from HIF eFuels facilities worldwide, co-investments in HIF eFuels facilities and new facilities in Japan, and supply of recycled carbon dioxide from Japan for use in the eFuels production process.

Cesar Norton, HIF Global CEO, said, “eFuels are available now to decarbonize existing cars, ships, and airplanes without any modifications to their engines. Our eFuels facility at Haru Oni in Chile is already producing carbon neutral gasoline. We expect to begin construction on the first world-scale eFuels facility in Texas, USA in 2024, and we are developing additional facilities in Chile, USA, and Australia, which are all well placed to serve partners in Asia. Collaboration with companies with the global presence and resources of Idemitsu makes our plan to reach 150,000 barrels per day of eFuels production a reality. We look forward to advancing Idemitsu’s strategic objectives for carbon neutrality and delivering eFuels to help win the war on climate change."

Hiroshi Tanaka, Idemitsu Kosan, General Manager, Carbon Neutral Transformation Department, said, “Idemitsu is exploring ways to ensure a stable energy supply in a carbon-neutral society in 2050. In particular, we believe that eFuels are one of the best ways to promote decarbonization of mobility by utilizing existing infrastructure, and we hope that eFuels will be widely recognized and used around the world as soon as possible. Additionally, we are very pleased to be working with HIF, which aims to launch and supply the world's first large-scale eFuel production facility, to explore strategic initiatives. We look forward to working together to accelerate decarbonization."

A month ago, Idemitsu leadership and a Japanese delegation traveled to southern Chile to witness the production of eFuels at the HIF Haru Oni Demonstration facility.

eFuels are made using electrolyzers powered by renewable energy to separate hydrogen from oxygen in water. The green hydrogen will be utilized together with recycled carbon dioxide to produce carbon neutral eFuels, which are chemically equivalent to fuels used today and can therefore be dropped-in to existing engines without any modifications required.

We remind, Idemitsu Kosan Co has shut the 150,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) crude distillation unit (CDU) at its Hokkaido refinery in northern Japan on Feb. 14 due to system trouble, said Hydrocarbonprocessing, citing a company spokesperson. He declined to comment on details of the glitch, but said it expects to restart operations soon.

Thyssenkrupp Uhde and IDIP sign MOU for green ammonia projects

Thyssenkrupp Uhde and IDIP sign MOU for green ammonia projects

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Thyssenkrupp Uhde and IDESA INDUSTRIAL PLANTS SLU (IDIP) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to cooperate on developing and fabricating modules for green ammonia projects, said the company.

The deal will focus on the development of a joint project within the sector for the design, procurement, fabrication and construction of modularised green ammonia plants.

Under the agreement, the companies will work together to further develop modularised green ammonia plants suitable for integration with green hydrogen production units. These modularised plants will drive forward green ammonia projects, which are vital for the success of the energy transition.

The cooperation between the two companies will combine IDIP’s extensive know-how in the fabrication of skids and modules with thyssenkrupp Uhde’s vast experience in the engineering and procurement of ammonia plants, leading to synergies, cost savings, improved fabrication efficiency, increased competitiveness and risk mitigation.

At the same time, it will unlock capacity constraints, improve supply chains and enable thyssenkrupp Uhde to prepare for the increased demand that is to come in the wake of the enormous future investments in green ammonia markets that are required to secure successful energy transition.

We remind, Unigel announced plans to build a green hydrogen plant in the northeastern state of Bahia, with an initial investment of USD120 million and the goal of making it one of the largest of its kind in the world. The plant will starts its production planned for late 2023. At this moment, Unigel's integrated green hydrogen and green ammonia plant is expected to be the largest in the world. In the first phase of the project, Unigel installs three 20 MW standard electrolyzers from thyssenkrupp nucera, adding up to a total capacity of 60 MW.